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No More Excuses

May 21, 2012

In the minds of fat-hating trolls, fat people are always looking for excuses to be fat and Fat Acceptance enables them to do just this. Fat Acceptance itself is the ultimate excuse for the massive human failure that is being fat.

(Un)common sense should tell us all loud and clear that we are not currently witnessing an epidemic of people looking for reasons to get or stay fat. There are no cultural privileges — none — that come with being fat. If you are born fat, you are immediately cast in one of two roles: the hopelessly diseased or the would-be thin victim of evil parents.

If you get fat later in life, you are both too lazy to do the work and too stupid to realize how good you had it. It’s like not cashing in on a winning lottery ticket. Fat people are to blame for all the world’s problems, have every disease known to man, and it is all caused directly by their fat.

What are the cultural privileges of being fat again? That’s what I thought. Nothing.

Yet fat people, still, are accused non-stop of making excuses to be fat. I very often have this conversation with my mother and, in many of these, she will accuse me of making excuses to be fat. I tell her calmly that I’m not making excuses, I’m just fat.

To me, making excuses for fatness is making statements along the lines of:

  • I know I’m fat, but I don’t have time to exercise.
  • I know I’m fat, but I don’t have the time to cook or the money to buy the “right” foods.
  • I know I’m fat, but I’m depressed and don’t have the resources to get help for my overeating.

These are all statements that reflect the idea that A) you are fat, B) this is a problem, and C) that you cannot stop being fat because of some external factor and that people should stop blaming you. You are looking for an excuse to be fat without being judged too harshly; for being fat and not giving your life toward the pursuit of thinness.

How about “I’m fat” period? I am not explaining away my fatness or my failure to fix it. It just is.

I am not blaming anyone else for anything because there is nothing to blame on anyone. It just is.

This is what Fat Acceptance tries to do, and this is exactly the opposite of making excuses.

FA is not an excuse to not care for oneself either. In a way, FA purports to do just the opposite. The Health at Every Size® approach requires that people chart their own course for well-being, as opposed to just following mainstream, simplistic, one-size-fits-all health advice, often in the face of great opposition. FA does not require that you pursue health, of course, but this is not making excuses either. Again, we are not blaming other people or Society™ for our choices or our health. It just is, and we demand respect regardless.

Frankly, they are the ones making excuses, not us. They are making excuses, and devising straw man arguments, to ignore us and refuse to challenge their own biases. They may be trying to deflect their insecurities about themselves onto fat activists. The reasoning goes, “I hate myself as a fat person, I am working hard and succeeding at being a thin person, and someone, somewhere doesn’t appreciate how special I am because of it.” If the issue can be framed as fat people giving up, the fear of the loss of cultural privilege stays safely out of sight, out of mind.

In addition to accusing us of making excuses, these people very often use the excuses outlined above, like not having time to cook, etc. It is like they are trying to say they KNOW how bad being fat is, but to please not shun them. They are pleading for approval. We aren’t.

The next time you are accused of making excuses to be fat, just ask them, “Why should I excuse that which doesn’t need excusing? I’m just fat.”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2012 12:00 pm

    I will definitely be sharing this with everyone who needs it.

    It reminds me of the actor Johnny Galecki, who’s on The Big Bang Theory. He’s been the subject of rumors for a long time that he’s gay. He was asked a while back if he wanted to defend himself from those rumors, and he looked at the interviewer and said “Why should I defend myself against something that isn’t offensive?”

  2. fat aspie permalink
    May 21, 2012 12:54 pm


  3. May 21, 2012 2:06 pm


  4. Mulberry permalink
    May 21, 2012 3:28 pm

    People say fat acceptance is the easy way out. I ask why we can’t find more fat acceptors if that is true. But somehow they have the crazy idea that nearly everyone who’s fat is a fat acceptor.
    Sometimes I say, “Why make excuses or look for blame? Tell me whom or what I should thank.” That always confuses them.

    • June 14, 2012 7:50 pm

      Amen! Quite often the harshest critics (both of me personally and the HAES concept in general) have been fellow fatties!

      So many fat folks insist on repeatedly internalizing all this crap and saying “I know I could lose the weight if I just got up off my lazy ass/controlled my portions/etc. ad nauseam…” and use this as an excuse to throw snarks at me for not doing likewise. “Well if you want to just let yourself go…”

  5. The Real Cie permalink
    May 22, 2012 5:13 am

    I do have a tendency to use the excuses why I’m fat for myself. I’ve had trouble accepting myself all my life, fat or not. In my own mind, another person’s size has never been my business. But when it comes to me, it’s a real problem. I am very hard on myself.

  6. Kate permalink
    March 7, 2015 7:38 am

    I make excuses all of the time. I did it while I was obese and I do it now that I am not “fat” but over where I feel comfortable.
    Just like it isn’t good to make assumptions about anyone else’s fat, it isn’t good to assume there aren’t people who will benefit from ownig up to their excuses and makings changes in their life.

  7. March 23, 2015 11:19 pm

    This is so perfect! Once I figured this out in my own life I became so much happier. I don’t make excuses because a) there is nothing to excuse and b) I owe random people in the world nothing beyond respect and human dignity. I have no obligation to maintain whatever body type they happen to prefer and owe them no explanation for my “failure” to do so.

    I love to see people splutter in amazement when I simply refuse to engage in discussions about my body, presumed dietary habits, or weight. I’m not sure who told people that fat folk’s bodies are public property but I’ve learned to stop letting that foolishness fly with me. Putting them in their place expeditiously and turning their insecurities right back around versus letting them be projected on me has proven much more productive.

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